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Ballot Access News

Illinois Libertarian Party Files Brief in Seventh Circuit in Ballot Access Case (January 18, 2017, 08:04 PM)

On January 18, the Illinois Libertarian Party filed this brief in the Seventh Circuit in its lawsuit against the unique Illinois law that requires newly-qualifying parties to file a full slate of candidates. The U.S.District Court last year struck the law down, and the state is appealing.

Kansas Ballot Access Bill Passes Legislature (January 17, 2017, 09:52 PM)

On the evening of January 17, the Kansas Senate passed HB 2017 unanimously. It improves ballot access in special U.S. House elections. It lowers the number of signatures for an independent from 4% of the number of registered voters (approximately 17,000 signatures) to exactly 3,000 signatures. It also allows ballot-qualified parties that nominate by convention to participate in the election.

See this story.

Virginia Ballot Access Bill Passes Senate Committee (January 17, 2017, 08:13 PM)

On January 17, the Virginia Senate Privileges & Elections Committee passed SB 1236, which lowers the number of signatures for statewide candidates in both the primary and the general election from 10,000 signatures to 5,000. The vote was 5-4, with one abstention. Thanks to Nicholas Cote for this news.

Currently the presidential petitions are 5,000, but all the other statewide candidate petitions are 10,000.

Hawaii Government Asks U.S. Supreme Court Not to Hear Democratic Party Case on Open Primary (January 17, 2017, 04:59 PM)

On January 17, attorneys for the state of Hawaii filed this brief in Democratic Party of Hawaii v Nago, 16-652. The Democratic Party of Hawaii does not want to be forced to nominate its candidates in an open primary, because the party believes that persons hostile to the party are voting in its primary. There is no way to know which voters choose to vote in the Hawaii Democratic Party. The lower federal courts refused any relief to the party because the party didn’t present concrete evidence that is being harmed. The party then asked to U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

The state’s brief argues that the Court should not hear this case for procedural reasons.

Colorado Secretary of State Asks U.S. District Court to Relieve Him from Producing Evidence, in Presidential Elector Lawsuit (January 17, 2017, 01:11 PM)

A lawsuit is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Colorado over the law that requires presidential electors to vote in the electoral college for the candidate who received the most popular votes in Colorado. It had been filed last year by two Democratic presidential electors who wanted to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton. The two electors did not receive injunctive relief, but they hope to eventually win declaratory relief, or at least to settle the issue for future presidential elections.

On January 12, the Colorado Secretary of State asked the court to be relieved from the discovery process. The electors want information about the Secretary of State’s press release issued the date the lawsuit had been filed; they want information about the Secretary of State’s efforts to re-word the oath that presidential electors must take just prior to voting; and they want information about the Secretary of State’s referral of a third Democratic presidential elector, Michael Baca, for prosecution (Baca is not a plaintiff, but when the electors voted at the state capitol, he cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders; he was then ejected as an elector).

The state says it would be burdensome to produce all the records. The state also says that if discovery goes forward and Michael Baca is deposed, he may possibly plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify. This argument seems far-fetched. From what is known about Michael Baca, a champion of freedom for presidential electors to vote for any qualified candidate, it seems very likely he would be in favor of letting discovery proceed.

The plaintiffs have not yet responded to the motion for discovery.

New Oklahoma Voter Registration Data (January 17, 2017, 12:34 PM)

On January 17, the Oklahoma State Election Board posted new voter registration data. The new percentages are: Republican 45.76%; Democratic 39.43%; Libertarian .18%; independent and miscellaneous 14.62%. See the data here.

The percentages just prior to the November 2016 election were: Republican 45.61%; Democratic 39.71%; Libertarian .17%; independent and miscellaneous 14.52%.

Rhode Island Releases Write-ins for President from November 2016 Election (January 17, 2017, 11:53 AM)

On January 17, the Rhode Island State Board of Elections released the presidential write-ins from November 2016. Rhode Island has no write-in filing procedure for president, and tallies anyone who got at least 5 write-ins. Evan McMullin received 732 write-ins, and Darrell Castle received 47. Therefore, their national totals are: McMullin 732,001; Castle 203,024.

Also, Michael Maturen received 33 write-ins in Rhode Island. No one else who was actually running, and who was not on the ballot in Rhode Island, received any.

Among non-candidates, Bernie Sanders easily got the most write-ins: 3,074. To see the entire list, e-mail me at

Ten Independents Were Elected to State Legislatures in November 2016 (January 17, 2017, 02:06 AM)

Ten independent candidates were elected to state legislatures on November 8, 2016. Six were in Vermont, two were in Alaska, and two were in Maine.

By contrast, in November 2014, fourteen independents had been elected to state legislatures. Some of the 2014 winners are still in office because they were elected to four-year terms.

The November 2016 national vote for independent candidates for State Senate was 414,403. By contrast, the 2014 State Senate national total was 251,674.

For lower house of state legislatures, the November 2016 national total was 721,008. In 2014 it had been 410,118.

Summary of 2016 Vote Totals for Legislature, for Each Nationally-Organized Third Party (January 16, 2017, 12:58 AM)

In the November 2016, only four parties (other than the Democratic and Republican Parties) had legislative nominees on the ballot in more than a single state.

Libertarians for State Senate polled 549,605 votes in 2016, compared with the 2014 State Senate nominee total of 328,020.

Libertarians for lower house of state legislatures polled 804,938 in 2016, compared with the 2014 total of 542,570.

Greens for State Senate in 2016 polled 90,539, compared with 58,416 in 2014.

Greens for lower house in 2016 polled 157,056, compared with 52,509 in 2014.

Constitution nominees for State Senate in 2016 polled 24,046, compared with 35,737 in 2014.

Constitution nominees for lower house in 2016 polled 40,199, compared with 54,961 in 2014.

Working Families nominees for State Senate in 2016 polled 173,501, compared with 169,927 in 2014.

Working Families nominees for lower house in 2016 polled 205,788, compared with 167,797 in 2014.

In 2016, the Libertarian nominee for state legislature who received the highest percentage was Dennis Allan Hof of Pahrump, Nevada. He got 39.24%. Second Libertarian finisher was William James Hunt of Bristol, Rhode Island, who got 38.28%. Both ran in two-person races.

In 2016, the Green legislative nominee with the highest percentage was Nick Nikhilananda of Molokai, Hawaii, who got 32.26%.

In 2016, the Constitution legislative nominee with the highest percentage was Pamela Goode of Palmer, Alaska, who got 37.18%.

Virginia Bill to Ease Ballot Access (January 15, 2017, 08:00 PM)

Virginia State Senator Nicholas Cote (D-Alexandria) has introduced SB 1236, which cuts the statewide petition requirement from 10,000 to 5,000, for independent candidates and for the nominees of unqualified parties. President is already 5,000, but all the other statewide offices are currently 10,000.

The bill also cuts the requirement for statewide candidates seeking to get on a primary ballot.

The bill has a hearing in the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee on Tuesday, January 17. Thanks to Nicholas Cote for this news.

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